About EcoStartoner refill chips printer ink inkjet cartridge recycling recycle reset hp brother drum
EcoStar is the trading name for the printer chip sales business of Smith & Young Sales Ltd. We are a family business started in 1994, based in Kent in the United Kingdom.
EcoStar has grown from the roots of another line of the business. Our TonerTopUp website was established in 2003 and supplies toner refills for refilling all types of laserprinter, copier, fax machine and MFP cartridges. Most toner cartridges are easily topped up and give excellent print quality when run beyond their rated lifetime. This optimal recycling has huge environmental benefits. The other great thing about filling up with powder is that you don’t disturb the inner workings of the cartridge. If it was working well when it ran out, then refilling will revive it.
As the range of toner powders supplied by TonerTopUp increased to cover the latest models, the chip supply side of the business grew in parallel. When refilling a toner cartridge it's usually necessary to replace the chip to reset it. Otherwise the original chip locks out as it detects that the cartridge has reached the end if its rated life.
Over the years chips became an integral part of TonerTopUp's product range. The chip technology often advanced faster than the cartridges they are attached to. Typically after release of a new printer model there is a delay of several years for development of the new compatible chip. This blocks refilling of the cartridges in many cases, as they cannot be reset.
Modern chips are highly complex. The aftermarket chip industry develops compatible solutions that not only work reliably, but are also fully legal and don’t infringe on the printer manufacturers’ patents and intellectual property.
It became clear that our business and expertise in smart chips was developing faster than the compatible toner business. With this in mind and given that chips are an interesting and vibrant hi-tech product, we set about making a dedicated online store for them.
EcoStar supplies a wide range of printer chips online.
Our brand values are “high-technology, environmentally friendly product and cost saving function”. If you would like to speak to us about any aspect of this web site or our business, do please contact me, Paul Young. (Managing Director)
About Cartridge Chips
The first cartridge chips appeared in the early 1990s. They were first used in the TEC 1305 engine in the spring of 1992 and also the Xerox N24 engine which came out soon after. HP first introduced chips in the Color LaserJet 4500. These were fairly simple devices and could be reset easily. Before these a significant proportion of cartridges used electrical fuses of one type or another.
Throughout the years the design of chips has evolved rapidly. As well as advancement of complex technologies, they also became much more widespread. Nearly all current laser toner cartridges use them. They are typically built on a small circuit board, and can communicate with the printer either by direct electrical contact or by radio-frequency (RF).
The chip stores information on the cartridge and its usage. As the printer is used it sends information to the chip on the pages printed, page coverage and estimated toner remaining. This data is stored on the chip and will be sent back to the printer as requested. It also stores cartridge specific information, so that the machine knows the correct type is installed.
The majority of models are programmed to lock out when they detect that the cartridge has reached the end of its rated lifetime. This can be triggered by the actual toner level becoming low or by a built in counter reaching its limit. Modern metering systems count pixels and pages printed as well taking readings from a physical gauge to measure usage. The use of anti-recycling devices to prevent consumers from re-using their own property is morally questionable, but currently legal worldwide. We are hopeful that new right-to-repair legislation will be introduced to address this practice by the OEMs.
There are some exceptions to the lock out. Noticeably Brother and HP are more friendly towards re-use of their consumables and this is commendable. Their models continue printing with the original chip when used beyond its intended lifetime. A warning message shows on the display saying that the supply needs replacing, but this can be safely ignored.